What do Veterans’ Disability Ratings Mean?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Nov 10, 2015 in Local
Navigating the disability application process can be particularly confusing, especially if your disability is related to your military service.
For example, in order to receive veterans benefits, you must first prove a relationship between your disability and your military service. If a correlation exists, your disability will then be assigned a number to indicate its level of severity.
Additionally, the amount of compensation you receive is dependent upon the number assigned to your disability, a concept that is often difficult to comprehend.
Therefore, to help you navigate your way through the process, we've highlighted some important details pertaining to veterans disability benefits and how your eligibility is determined.
The Veterans' Disability Rating Process
When applying for veterans disability, you must first contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA will then determine if your disability is related to your military service by reviewing your medical records, speaking with your physicians, and accessing your military documents.
Next, you'll receive a disability rating which indicates the severity of your impairment and to what extent your disability affects your ability to work. The rating you receive will determine how much compensation youre eligible for, including rectification for any lost earnings as a result of your injury.
If you suffer from multiple service-related disabilities, each one will receive a rating. Using a Combined Ratings Table, the VA will calculate a combined disability rating which will be used to determine your disability compensation.
Are You Eligible for Veterans Disability Benefits?
Under certain circumstances, the VA may decide your disability is due to your military service without having to review your medical or military records. Certain disabilities are presumably caused by military service, and benefits are available for any veteran who:
- was a POW
- was exposed to mustard gas or radiation while on active duty
- was stationed in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War
- is afflicted with certain tropical diseases
As a veteran, you may also be eligible for additional benefits if:
- you are married
- you have dependents, including children and parents
- your spouse has a serious disability
Could My Rating Change?
Once your disability rating has been issued by the VA, its not final. You may be required to undergo re-examination after you depart from military service. You may be re-examined six months after separation, and again in a few years.
When your disability is re-examined, the VA will either verify your disability rating is still valid, or it will verify that your disability has improved and now requires a lesser disability rating. This could lower the amount of compensation you receive or terminate it altogether.
However, if your disability worsens or you develop a new service-related disability, you may request a re-evaluation using VA Form 21-4138.
If you're a disabled veteran who needs assistance with your disability claim, contact the Phoenix injury lawyers at Phillips Law Group today, as we consider it an honor to help our servicemen and servicewomen in any way we can.
Call or text 1-800-706-3000 or fill out our FREE Case Evaluation Form above.